Sunderland have been in the headlines all week because of their choice of manager following the departure of Martin O’Neill and new boss Paulo Di Canio will probably be relieved to finally get on with some football as he makes his Black Cats bow at Chelsea.
The fiery Italian however, isn’t expected to enjoy a winning start, William Hill installing Sunderland as 10/1 outsiders ahead of the Stamford Bridge clash, which is 4/11 via Coral to go the way of the hosts.
Rafa Benitez, no stranger to being a controversial managerial choice, has seen his side fare well in two cup competitions over the last few days but he knows that finishing in the top four takes priority and he’ll have his team geared up for this one.
Sunderland too will be fired up, given that there’s a new man at the helm, but without Steven Fletcher they lack firepower and at 11/10 (Skybet) Chelsea should emerge victorious and also keep a clean sheet.
Newcastle are slipping back towards the drop zone having suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats but they have a great opportunity to put some breathing space between themselves and the bottom three as they welcome Fulham to St James’ Park.
Double on Chelsea to win ‘to nil’ and Newcastle to win – 17/5 (Paddy Power)